Theatrical Release Date: TBC
Home Ent. Release Date: 06 May 2007
Cert: Not Rated
Disc 1 - NO LIMIT Disc 2 - TURNED OUT NICE AGAIN & SPARE A COPPER Disc 3 - I SEE ICE & IT’S IN THE AIR Disc 4 - COME ON GEORGE & LET GEORGE DO IT The show business career of George Formby spanned forty years, beginning in 1921 until his death in 1961. During that period he appeared in 21 hit films, cut over 230 records, and made hundreds of stage performances. From beginnings in northern music halls, where his father had been a popular singing comedian, George Formby achieved big screen success in the mid 1930s, becoming for several years Britain's most popular film star, and one of the highest-paid. The secret of Formby’s success was a unique combination of personality, natural ability and talent coupled with the driving force of his wife, Beryl as his Manager. With his natural human warmth and cheeky Lancashire humour, Formby could hold an audience in the palm of his hand as he sang and played the ukulele in his own inimitable style. From the outset of his film career Formby played loveable but accident-prone incompetents, aspiring to various kinds of professional success (as, say, cyclist or jockey) and even more improbably to a middle-class girlfriend, usually in the clutches of some caddish type with a moustache. Invariably he scored on both counts, in such films as No Limit (1936), Keep Fit (1937), Turned Out Nice Again (1941) and Let George Do It (1941), one of a number of films Formby made for Ealing Studios. No Limit Filmed at the 1935 Isle of Man TT races, this lively mixture of action and comedy proved to be hugely popular with audiences and was George Formby’s first major studio success for Associated Talking Pictures. George Shuttleworth (Formby) is convinced that he has the talent to win the Isle of Man TT races, despite what his neighbours back home in Wigan may think. During the trials, the brakes go on George's bike, 'The Shuttleworth Snap', which he made himself. As a result, he breaks the TT lap record, becoming an instant motor-cycling star. As the big race approaches, George soon realises that other jealous riders will stop at nothing to make sure he does not take part in the race. Turned Out Nice Again Formby stars as George Perason, an assistant in a Lancashire women's underwear firm who is tricked into buying the rights for an apparently worthless yarn. He is fired, but the yarn turns out to be revolutionary, ensuring a happy ending. George's traditional firm cling to whalebone and flannelette, while its up-to-date rivals favour lightweight scanties, but this time it is the old-fashioned way that is condemned. With a narrative that centres upon his character's relationship with his modern, opinionated wife, Lydia (Peggy Bryan), and his imperious, overbearing mother (Elliott Mason), George is given one of his most adult roles in his final Ealing comedy, and confidently displays his sometimes overlooked ability to act. An early version of the Alec Guinness classic The Man in the White Suit, John Dighton worked on both scripts. Spare A Copper In this British WW II comedy, Formby stars as George Carter, a Merseyside special constable who eventually becomes a hero when he exposes a conspiracy to sabotage the battleship Hercules on her first voyage. But at first his fellow officers believe that he is one of the enemy agents and pursue him down the docks, causing him to prematurely launch the ship and save it from exploding. Spare a Copper was the latest success in a long line of extremely lucrative Formby comedies. By now, the comedian was the highest paid entertainer in Britain and, according to the Motion Picture Herald, the country's top cinema box-office attraction. Topical in its narrative preoccupation with the war effort, the film was also judged as especially good for public morale. I See Ice Gormless photographer's assistant George Wright (Formby) dreams of being a glamorous Fleet Street photographer and getting the big scoop – but his antics on board the speeding Manchester to London Express only succeed in getting him sacked, and in trouble with the law. Hiding from the police, George takes a job with a travelling ice-skating company where he falls in love with young skater Judy Gaye (Kay Walsh) - but the big star of the show gives him the cold shoulder. Still dreaming of his big break in photography, George invents a tiny camera he can hide in his bowtie, and accidentally takes a very incriminating photograph of a leading journalist. Suddenly the toast of Fleet Street, George discovers that the path to success can be a very slippery one... The second collaboration between the comedian and Kay Walsh and the chemistry is sparkling. Featuring the hit songs 'Noughts and Crosses' and 'Mother What'll I Do Now?', the film finds Formby in ebullient form. It’s In The Air Described as ‘slapstick comedy at its very best’ by The Monthly Film Bulletin, It’s In The Air is widely regarded as one of the very finest of the comedian’s features. Alternatively known as George Takes The Air, the humour is leavened by a sprinkling of romance. Formby sparkles as George Brown, a civil defence recruit, who has been rejected by the RAF but cannot resist trying on the RAF dispatch rider's uniform of his sister's boyfriend. Finding an official letter marked 'urgent' in one of the pockets, George decides to deliver it himself, but doesn't reckon with ending up in a pilot-less plane. Come on George! One of Formby’s most imaginative features, Come On George!, features our hero as a jockey with a terrible mount that has already savaged three former riders. Befriending the nervous horse, Formby calms it down enough to win a number of races. Characteristically, the fearless Formby, who had once been a stable apprentice, eschewed doubles and did the riding himself. (His little-known debut in films had been as a child, twenty years before By the Shortest of Heads, a racing drama made by Ealing's pioneer, Will Barker.) Tightly structured and scripted, Come On George! includes a varied selection of entertaining Formby numbers, notably the ingeniously catchy 'Pardon Me'. Let George Do It! One of a number of films Formby made for Ealing Studios, Let George Do It! was also the first Ealing comedy to use the war as a background. Formby’s George, a member of the Dinkie Doo Concert Party, finds himself on a boat to Bergen, Norway, by mistake, in order to replace a British intelligence man. Unmasking a spy ring (it is still Norway's pre-invasion period), he escapes, aided by the alluring Mary (Phyllis Calvert), a British spy. Quite apart from being an effective vehicle for wartime propaganda, this is one of the best constructed and most consistently amusing of the Formby comedies. Directed with assurance by Marcel Varnel, Formby’s performance is by turns cheeky and bashful, displaying the best of the traits that made him famous. A worldwide success, the film played to packed houses in Moscow for ten months under the title Dinky Doo.